The cultural economy of soil and water conservation: Market principles and social networks in Eastern Burkina Faso
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Soil and water conservation interventions in Africa have had a checkered history, calling into question the way in which soil and water conservation technologies have been studied in the past. This article draws on a case study from eastern Burkina Faso to explore an area usually ignored by soil and water conservation studies-the role of social institutions in guiding decisions regarding the use of technologies. It looks at soil and water conservation through the historical development of what the authors call the 'cultural economy', that is, a system of exchange in which the market economy has mixed with pre-existing forms of exchange. The approach adopted by the authors identifies concepts on which the cultural economy is based and uses these ideas to analyse institutions that affect the choice of soil and water conservation technologies. The article shows how this approach leads to a reconceptualization of the ways in which soil and water conservation technologies are to be considered.